Africa’s Betting Public Lures Foreign Investors

People across the world's poorest continent are gambling their limited incomes on scratch-off cards and lotto tickets. As countries ease betting restrictions to encourage economic growth, foreign companies have begun investing in Africa's new blossoming industry. "The African market is a relatively small part of the world market," one British investor noted, "but it's growing." The industry has proven so popular and lucrative, that countries of the Southern African Development Community, an economic bloc, are considering creating a regional lottery. Issues of language and politics may prove difficult obstacles for this plan, as will efficient regulation. The intense poverty of the region make fraud tempting and frequent, causing people to tamper with scratch off cards and sell fake tickets. Addiction also presents a problem since few facilities are available to treat those unable to resist buying just one more ticket. In the face of such problems, gambling executives emphasize the benefits of their industry, noting that losing tickets provide money for poor schools and health clinics, as well as tax revenues for struggling governments. – YaleGlobal

Africa's Betting Public Lures Foreign Investors

Marc Lacey
Tuesday, October 7, 2003

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